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Season Two of HBO Series Features Meryl Streep

Television: ‘Big Little Lies’

How do you take a limited-run television series and live up to its critically acclaimed first year, without experiencing a “sophomore slump”?
In the case of the darkly humorous HBO “dramedy” “Big Little Lies,” the answer is deceptively simple: add acting great (and local legend) Meryl Streep to an already all-star cast.
“Lies” is back for its second season, with a vengeance.

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More Yawns Than Chills In Hipster Zombie Flick

Movies: ‘The Dead Don’t Die’

You know the scene. The full moon. The graveyard at night. The gravestone, a little crooked. Then an arm pops up through the soil! Aaagh! The dead are rising from their graves!
What the makers of zombie movies never really explain is the mechanics of becoming reanimated while interred in a box bolted shut and buried under six feet of earth. I mean, this is an arduous undertaking, and the zombie can’t be in the greatest shape. And how does the zombie know which way is up?

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‘The Souvenir’ — Postcards From Your Younger Self

Movies

Arthur Rimbaud wrote, “When you are 17 you aren’t really serious,” and Taylor Swift wrote, “Everything will be alright, if we just keep dancing like we’re 22.” But the trouble with turning 25 is that no matter how much you dance or how unserious you are, the clay begins to harden, and the things — and the people — that happen to you get stuck within the little crevices. They harden too; trapped within you and impossible to extract. This is how you become a person. And, if you’re lucky, an artist.

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At the Core of ‘Rocketman’ Is A Broken Heart

Movies

I loved it. Having said that, I cried. Not for the right reasons. In the first few minutes, as I came to understand that I was about to endure musical theater on-screen, complete with huge production numbers, the despair I keep mostly at bay overtook me. I wept for humanity, for my own tire-tracked soul and for the two hours soon to be inflicted. Yet then, quickly, “Rocketman” got to me.

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Scorsese Honored at This Year’s BIFF

Movies: An Interview With Berkshire International Film Festival founder Kelley Vickery

The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) will begin its 14th season starting May 30, bringing another vibrant and tightly-packed weekend of back-to-back documentaries, independent films and foreign cinema to Great Barrington and Pittsfield, Mass. In addition to the impressive line up of films, BIFF’s 2019 season will honor Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, who will appear in conversation with director Kent Jones at a special tribute event on June 1.

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Portrait of Pauline Kael Opens Berkshire Film Festival

When it comes to a trailblazing voice in film like that of New Yorker critic Pauline Kael, the question is: what can you say about her that she couldn’t say herself? That is what director Rob Garver set out to do in his debut documentary, “What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael.” It’s an immediately gripping, energized salute to a woman who paved the way for American film criticism as an art form. As Vanity Fair writer Lili Anolik says in the film, “She turned the movie review into something as expressive as a short story or a sonnet.”

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A Small, Quiet Film Triumphs

Movies

Diane, the eponymous title character, who appears in every scene of documentary director Kent Jones’ first dramatic feature, helps people. Played with unsentimental sympathy by the singularly talented Mary Kay Place, 70ish Diane plays gin rummy with her cousin Donna (Deirdre O’Connell), who is dying of cervical cancer, brings a casserole to a friend with a sick husband and feeds poor people in a soup kitchen. Mostly, she tries to help her ungrateful, drug addicted son, Brian (Jake Lacy), bringing food and fresh laundry to his filthy, run-down house.   

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Why See The ‘Avengers: Endgame’?

Movies

At a quarter to six last Thursday, while standing in a popcorn line long enough to weave in a comically serpentine stretch around the packed lobby of my local arthouse theater, I composed a text to my friends. “I’m about to see the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ premiere and every middle schooler in town seems to be here, too.”
The reply I got back was a curt one. A friend wrote, “Why are you seeing that movie?”

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Isle of Wight Girl Problems

Movies: ‘Teen Spirit’

Have you ever been on a date with someone who likes all the same things you like, understands your references and remembers the songs you used to dance alone to — but there’s no spark?
That’s how I feel about Max Minghella, the 33 year old son of the late Academy Award winning director Anthony Minghella (whose repertoire includes some of my all-time favorites like “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “The English Patient.”) Going to see Max’s directorial debut, “Teen Spirit,” was a bit like a first date. 

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A Superhero Movie For Everyone

Movies: ‘Shazam!’

If you are a comic book movie person, if you care about the difference between the DC and Marvel Universe, you’ve already decided whether or not you are going to see “Shazam!”. But if you are like me, someone who just wants to know if you should take your kids to see it, or, like me, your eyes glaze over a little bit in the final third of superhero movies when everybody is zooming around zapping each other and the CGI takes over from the actors, well, I am here to tell you that “Shazam!” is a ton of fun, brimming with heart and absolutely worth seeing.

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